Monday, April 4, 2011

Italy Day 9 {Assisi}

Peter's rash covered skin, shown to the pharmacist for help with medication

April Fools Day in Assisi, and Joseph started things off by pouring laundry soap into the bath tub before Peter's bath.  Perhaps that had something to do with the terrible rash that broke out all over Peter's body?  We found a Farmacia and asked with sign language (pointing to Peter's rash and scratching ourselves like monkeys) for a cure.  Maybe the pharmacist spoke English, but better safe than sorry!  He sold us a little tablet, and told Peter to take half a tablet every 12 hours.  Shortly thereafter the rash disappeared and hasn't returned.

Secluded olive grove at St. Anthony's Guesthouse, Assisi

Digging in!

Picnicking in a shady olive grove overlooking St. Clair's Basilica, we felt right at home at St. Anthony's guest house.  Our fishy Friday meant we sampled thinly sliced salmon (cured?) with our sandwiches.  The butchers, a father an son duo, so very helpful at the local shop, even sliced our bread and cheese.  Fresh fruits and assorted juices rounded out the simple meal.

High energy and over active imaginations fueled the steep climb up to the Rocca Maggiore castle at the top of Assisi.  A typical example of medieval military architecture, the castle had many corridors, spiral staircases, look-out towers and cells.  We also found the chapel where Mass would have been offered.
A highlight involved passing through a narrow (about a body and half width), low ceiling (under 6 feet high) and almost completely dark the entire 100 yard length.  The boys charged through, running and yelling, "For Narnia!"

In the polygonal tower at the top of the castle, we enjoyed sweeping views of Assisi and the entire Umbrian countryside;  commanding vistas, on a beautiful sunny day.  The opportunity to rest in the sun was tempting for Tim and me, but the boys were far too intrigued with the countless possibilities such a position would hold in battle.  Overheard during my short siesta, "I would pay you e100 (100 Euros) if you managed to pee on a coconut bouncing down from here!"

Friar Fabio with the boys outside St. Damien, Assisi

Stopping for gelatto after our descent from the castle, we forged on another 2k straight downhill out of Assisi proper to St. Damien Church, where St. Francis heard Jesus speaking to him from the cross, "Repair my Church."  A friendly friar, Fabio, visited with us in the courtyard after our self guided tour.  Fabio heard his call to the priesthood at St. Damien at age 17, and now has two more years of formation before his ordination.  In parting, he promised to pray for our family, and we for him.  Attending another daily Mass (for First Friday!) at St. Rufino, plus visits to St. Clair, St. Mary Major, and a small chapel at St. Joseph Benedictine Monastery made this a day to remember.

  • From the top of a castle, the male dominated conversation will naturally turn to how cool it would be to throw things off (coconuts, watermelons, bowling balls, pee, spit).
  • Probably best to know what you're ordering for dinner (even if the waitress is rude and rushed).
  • Truffle pizza is edible with enough water (snuck into the restaurant in water bottles) but eggplant ____ (something) is just barely palatable.  Maybe better to just stick with cheese pizza on future Fridays!


Sean D said...

Fantastic photos as always. Nothing like a castle to inspire the imagination and a desire to study your history.

toadlaketeacher said...

I want a picnic like that! Which, I'd hope, would be uphill from any gravity experiments, especially involving coconuts and ...